New low consumption and autonomous soil humidity sensor with fast deployment
Water is a key resource for agriculture both for the economic and environmental sustainability. The volume of water used for irrigation per year in EU-28 is 39.8 billion m3. However, effective irrigation is only 35% of this amount.
Irrigation of crops is usually applied based on a fixed schedule or even on the farmers intuition. Despite technologies such as soil moisture sensors are available in the market to help farmers make better decisions on water management, there is a poor market penetration for these technologies
ENCORE aimed to design a low cost Cyber-Physical-System that will integrate sensing, logging and remote communication functionalities. Using the latest low consumption IoT technologies such as Ultranarrow Band protocols and the new generation of low power microprocessors STM32-L0.
ENCORE LAB have designed and prototyped device able to measure soil humidity at different depths attached to an autonomous plug and play communication module able to send real time data to agronomic platform Cesens®. The device installation does not require specialized staff or tools and it is based on DIY concept.
Agriculture is the largest single user of fresh water, accounting for ∼75% of current human water use. Globally, in both irrigated and rain fed agriculture only about 10–30% of the available water (as rainfall, surface or groundwater) is used by plants as transpiration, being even a lower figure (5%) in arid areas.
In this context, improving water use efficiency in agriculture could not only make a better use of this scarce resource but also reduce the energy consumption derived of the use of pumps and other devices involved in irrigation. Soil moisture monitoring is the more direct method to assess the real need for irrigation in agriculture.
HSENS proposes a new technology that will significantly contribute to these goals, allowing to reduce the consumption both of water and energy by more than 30% in agriculture. Thus, only in Europe the new system would allow to save almost 12 billion m3 of water per year.